By Mitchell S. Jackson
Bloomsbury, $26.00, 346 pages
Mitchell Jackson writes a semi-autobiographical novel The Residue Years set in Portland, Oregon. The reader meets Champ and Grace, son and mother. Grace is trying her hardest to stay clean after stints in a drug treatment program. She has not had it easy, losing her mother early in life. She wants to get her children back but her ex and his new wife do nothing to make it easy for her. She finds a new church (an exercise done several times) and has a guilt-ridden relationship with her older son, Champ. Champ is also trying to find his way through school, drugs and too many women to sleep with, but only one that he really loves. As Champ descends into impending parenthood, he attempts to reclaim the family home.
The Residue Years reads like an authentic expose into the author’s hard-luck story. The dialogue is real and the hurt and possible hopelessness draws in the reader. The book reinforces some stereotypes, but overall you cannot help but feel sorrow for the two characters trying to find their way.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff